In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

26Historically Speaking · February 2003 particular under die global," diereby losing "track of die importance of human agency and geographic specificity, ofmistakingideal types for historical realities" ("Race, Ideology , and die Perils ofComparative History," American HistoricalReview 101 [1996]: 1 1 35). As one ESF network participant observed, historical inquiry must proceed at multiple levels simultaneously. The crucial question for all historians remains: how well are we handling die fundamental tension between the particular and the general? This holds considerable importance especially for die Historical Society whose existence is in no small part die result ofan impulse to reintegrate historical inquiryin defiance ofdie prevailing forces of fragmentation. The future vitality of die discipline may well hinge on diis very question. The ESF workshop ended with Robin Grove-White's (University of Lancaster) intriguing transition to die third and final workshop to be held at Oxford's HarrisManchester College in 2003. He explored in preliminary fashion some contemporary issues diat illustrate how die interaction between science and human values is a function ofparticular cultural settings—for example, die differentresponses in die UKand U.S. to genetically manipulated crops. Grove-White, a sociologist of knowledge, concluded diat it was an open question how far past controversies and social negotiations between science and human values could offer guidance "to eidier die meaning of present tensions, or future ways forward." Historians in die group were familiar widi dus kind ofrumination on die questionable value of history in die light ofnew social and technological realities. An obvious answer in die context of die engagement ofscience and religion is die fact diat die conflict model was overturned byhistorical investigations. To be sure, careful attention to die past does not guarantee a successful navigation ofdie future, but it is demonstrably effective in removing a few shoals. And diat is no small task. William R. Shea is the chairman ofthe Standing Committeefor the Humanities of the European Science Foundation andwas recently appointed to the Galilean Chair of the History ofScience at the University of Padua. His latest book, Galileo's Roman Agenda, written with MarianoArtigas, is beingpublishedbyAshgate Press. DonaldA. Yerxa is assistantdirector ofthe Historical Society andprofessor ofhistory atEastern Nazarene College. He is co-author o/Species ofOrigins: America's Search for a Creation Story (Rowntan &Littlefield, 2002). Both areparticipants in the ESFScience and Human Values Network. Reckoning with History: Report from the Conference on Faith and History Eric Miller "G enerations follow generations in a rage," Annie Dillard once remarked. It makes for a useful startingpointfortryingtounderstandthe Conference on Faidi and History's recent biennial meeting, held this pastOctober at Huntington College, in Huntington, Indiana. Launchedindielate 1960s byasmallgroup ofevangelical historians and boasting a journal , Fides et Historia, now in its durty-fourth volume, the Conference on Faith and History (CFH) has existed for the purpose of asking one question: what hadi Adiens to do widi Jerusalem when it comes to doing history? Largely following die lead of George Marsden , Mark Noll, and odiers, members of die organization have answered die question in ways diat have not, in die main, obstructed diem from good-faidi participation in the American historical profession—in fact, die CFH is an affiliate societyofdieAmerican Historical Association. In brief, the CFH's consensus on faith and history is based on the understanding diat historical scholarship is influenced and often shaped by die historian's background or control beliefs. For historians who are Christian believers, many of these background beliefswill be derived from Scripture and theology. Consequendy, historians of faith may draw, for example, on Christian notions ofhuman behavior as diey engage in dieirhistoricalscholarship, provided theirwork is "defendedwidi arguments and evidence diat is publicly accessible."1 It's safe to say diat die CFH's consensus on faidi and history has rarely, if ever, been subjected to the sort of probing and questioningit received at the October 2002 meeting . Clearly, a generational reckoninghas been brewing, one that stands a good chance of reshaping not only die discourse widiin die CFH, but the CFH itself. The conferees arrived from all quarters of American academic life, from distinctively religious institutions to regional universities to research universities. Some 300 strong, die total attendance more than doubled diat of die preceding meeting, and for...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 26-27
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.